I am from the land of one hundred thousand welcomes.
Where it takes an hour to say goodbye. Where raising your index finger over the steering wheel has multiple meanings- wait, go, stop, thank you, okay, hello, goodbye. We are a kind nation; warm and generous. We are a cultured nation, full of storytellers, musicians, brewers, artists. Even if we can’t all speak the Irish language fluently, we always have a cúpla focal (a couple of words).
As a young female attorney, I am proud to see my country’s progression in the modern world. We’ve had two female Presidents. First, Mary Robinson, who went on to serve as High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations. Then, Mary McAleese, making her the first woman in the world to succeed another woman as president. We were also the first country to legalize same-sex marriage by way of a popular vote.
When I left Ireland after law school to pursue studying and practicing law in the United States, I wondered how the move would shape me. I had always felt proud to be Irish, but was surprised how much deeper my connection became. I associate a lot of the warmth, empathy, and patience I have as an attorney with the values my family instilled in me. I enjoy giving Irish travel recommendations or hearing stories of trips there, further heightening my pride (or bród). I laugh when I hear my husband, a native Philadelphian, use slang like “boot” instead of “trunk”, or pronouncing the “b” in our dog Méabh’s name, instead of a “v” sound. I love my Irish-American blended family, and was grateful to all who traveled to County Wicklow to experience a true Irish wedding.
All told, being Irish in America, especially in Montana, is a true gift. I am grateful to call the two places home.